The season is finally here. The Cowboys have made a lot of changes to their roster that seem almost entirely aimed at fixing what went wrong against the New York Giants last season. We finally get to see if the moves the Cowboys have made can make a difference.
On defense let's start with the secondary. Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz destroyed the Cowboys last season. So the Cowboys changed out three of the four starters in the secondary to try to find a way to stop the passing game of the Giants. Brandon Carr is a clear upgrade at one cornerback. And Morris Claiborne is potentially an upgrade at the other starting corner spot. Barry Church takes over for Abe Elam and has looked like a major upgrade at safety. It will be very interesting to see how the new look secondary of the Cowboys can match up against the Giants.
Also on defense the Cowboys have become younger and more athletic at middle linebacker. Sean Lee is still starting but this time he'll have full use of both hands unlike last season after his dislocated wrist. And Bruce Carter is a clear upgrade in terms of athleticism over Bradie James and Keith Brooking. The concern with Carter is his lack of experience. He is going to make mistakes. The Cowboys just have to hope they aren't the kind of mistakes that lose games. Carter will be much better in pass coverage than James or Brooking were even if he is making mistakes.
There haven't been many changes on offense at the skill positions. But the fullback is new (Vickers) and four of the five starting offensive lineman are new or playing in new positions. I'm hoping the Vickers-Murray combination can put up enough rushing yards that the Cowboys don't have to resort to a pass happy offense. The pass blocking should be improved but it doesn't matter if the Giants know the pass is coming. The pass blocking for the Cowboys will be one of the key factors in the game.
Martellus Bennett will be starting at tight end for the Giants. He will undoubtedly be fired up to do some damage against the Cowboys. The Cowboys do have good personnel to match up against Marty B. down the field with Carter and Barry Church likely getting most of the coverage duties. Martellus has always had all the potential in the world but has never been able to grasp the offense or catch the ball consistently enough to be a big factor in the passing game. But something tells me he will have a big game against the Cowboys. Hopefully he'll run the wrong route at a crucial moment or drop a few easy passes like he has done over the years for the Cowboys.
This game really feels like a toss up to me. The teams are very evenly matched regardless of what the experts are saying. For some reason a lot of people are forgetting that the Giants were only 9-7 last season and I'm not sure they have really upgraded their roster significantly this offseason. I know the Super Bowl champion hasn't lost their season opener in a long time. But it just feels like the Cowboys are long overdue for a win against the Giants and just a big win in general. I predict the Cowboys win the game 30-25.